Reflections B4 Yom Kippur

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Reflections Before Yom Kippur.

“I get up in the middle of the night, and I’m still 3/4 asleep. My mouth feels dry, and I walk over to the mouthwash to refresh. I reach for the bottle, but I grab the image in the mirror…”

Hope you enjoy this true story and the parable for living our spiritual lives and not just reach for the ego image in the mirror.

May you be sealed for another year in the book of life. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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What’s It’s Like To Be A Bag

It’s funny, like most of us, my daughter stuffs the shopping bags in the draw or into another “bag of bags” to reuse. 


My son-in-law joked about feeling bad for the bags all crinkled up and thrown in with all the others like that. 


He drew this little sign on a paper towel, and put it on the fridge:


Bag’s life


This is what a crying creased up bag looks like. 


Maybe even inanimate objects have feelings too. 


As human beings, we can learn to treat everything in the world kindly and with appreciation. 


Bye bye baggy. 😉


(Source Drawing: Itzchak Ochayon)

What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things…clothes…money…

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No… It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God’s hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d’s will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.

(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeding Frenzy

A colleague told me something really great. 


Once a month she helps others in the office that are less fortunate. 


She told me that the cleaning people have various disabilities, and they are underappreciated for the difficult work they do. 


So once a month she treats them for breakfast!


As I got on the elevator with her, some of the cleaning people were calling to her in a frenzy asking when they were doing the next one. 


She told them the date, and they seemed so happy and valued. 


I thought to myself, WOW!–what an amazing gesture of compassion, kindness, and charity for others.  


It’s not necessarily the money itself, but rather making a habit out of doing something good for others. 


I imagined G-d looking down from Heaven at this lady and that she would never be hungry because she makes sure to feed breakfast and gratitude to others. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 


Hence, the term anger management!


The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person’s real character: 


– Koso, Kiso, and Ka’aso.


From Aramaic to English it translates as:


– Cup, Purse, and Anger. 


In other words…


Cup–When a person “drinks,” this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, “When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!” Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 


Purse–This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  


Anger–When a person is angry, this is often when their “true colors” show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent–do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when “under the gun.”  


Focusing on the anger piece…


It’s easy to get angry, and it’s also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you’re really angry. 


Maybe people can’t always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don’t even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.


In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 


Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 


Thoughts on this…


Take a breath, slow down. 


Evaluate what’s really going on


Think about whether it’s truly the end of the world or not. 


Assess the options for coping with it. 


Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 


If necessary, seek help from others.


Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 


And where not, cope, cope, cope–and survive another day!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Love Truck

Ok, the title of this blog may not be the best. 


Some may associate the “Love Truck” with human trafficking or something horrible. 


But this truck in Washington D.C. really fitted the name with messages on the windows and sides like:

Love not hate.
Peace on planet Earth.
One race, the human race. 
Left, right, make America unite again through love.
2 wrongs don’t make it right.
Stop bombing, start educating. 
Smile, life is short.
Be kind to your fellow man.


I almost got to wonder what’s on the other side of this truck???


Anyway, I know it’s more than kind of kooky to graffiti up your own vehicle this way, but I still rather see these messages and actions than those of hate and violence in this world. 


Happy Friday folks!  😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness


So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!


They don’t want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that’s the way it is. 


On top of it, they don’t even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 


One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 


Finally, finally, finally–the employer gave in–for just a single day!


The person was so happy–one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 


I was so happy for them!


Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 


Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.


There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 


People need a day to rejuvenate.


Everything is nature does.


Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 


There is a natural cycle to things–peaks and valleys–and we need to have some rest and relaxation–to work for something and not for nothing. 


The joy on this person to just have a day off–it was so incredible and touching. 


It spoke light years to me about treating people right–just–humanly–with compassion–and doing good over evil in this world.


What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  


Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 


Care for people–they are people. 


Love people–they are G-d’s beautiful children. 


Treat others as you would like to be treated. 


Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to–to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)